02 03 Pinewood Derby Stories and Photos from Maximum Velocity 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Pinewood Derby for Boy Scouts

Every year, hundreds of thousands of kids engage in building a
pinewood derby car for the annual race. The majority of these
children are Cub Scouts, ranging in school age from first to fifth

Actually, instead of stating "thousands of kids", I should have said
"thousands of parents, and their children"; for in reality the parents
do the majority of work in most cases, especially for the younger
kids. Since pinewood derby building requires cutting tools, strength,
and dexterity, younger children really cannot be expected to build the
cars without significant help.

Why then does BSA (Boy Scouts of America) target the pinewood derby
solely at Cub Scouts, their younger organization? I believe the
reason is strictly historical. Originally, Don Murphy designed the
pinewood derby event as a younger kid's alternative to the soap box
derby, which was the Boy Scout event. Since then, the pinewood derby
has stayed with the Cub Scouts.

In my opinion it is time to reconsider. So, I am writing an open
letter to BSA, asking them to consider opening up the pinewood derby
to Boy Scouts. If you are in BSA leadership, and you are in agreement
with the intent of this letter, please inlclude your name at the
bottom of the letter and send it to your council leadership. With
enough grass roots input, a change can happen.

Note: Those of you that are cynically inclined will assume that I
am writing this letter in the hopes of increasing sales for Maximum
Velocity. I admit that this has crossed my mind. However, if the
event is organized as a boy-only event (no parental involvement),
which is my intent, then the revenue increase for pinewood derby
vendors due to sanctioned Boy Scout races would be very minimal.

Dear Sirs:

For over fifty years, Cub Scouts have been building and racing
pinewood derby cars under the sanction of Boy Scouts of America.
Overall, it has been a wildly successful event. Not only is the event
enthusiastically anticipated by Cub Scouts nationwide (and to some
extent world-wide), but it has also served to bring in considerable
revenue to your organization.

I would like to offer a suggestion for continuing the growth and
success of the pinewood derby event. That is, extending the sanction
of pinewood derby racing to Boy Scouts.

When a Tiger Cub has their first pinewood derby, clearly a parent must
be heavily involved, as the young child does not have the dexterity or
strength to build a car on their own. As the child progress through
Cub Scouts, the level of parental involvement should diminish as the
capability of the child increases. But just as the boy reaches a
point where he can build a car entirely on his own, the boy advances
into Boy Scouts, and the event is over. What a shame!

Originally, Boy Scouts were involved in Soap Box Derby Racing, so the
boys had something to advance into. But today, Boy Scouts are not
typically involved in Soap Box Derby Racing, so Boy Scouts no longer
have the opportunity to build and race cars.

So, the question must be asked, why not sanction pinewood derby racing
for Boy Scouts? Let me provide you several reasons for strongly
considering this action.

1. Enjoyment - Boys enjoy building pinewood derby cars. Sanctioning
a Boy Scout event would allow this enjoyment to continue, especially
since the boys would be able to build their own car.

2. Skill Growth - A Boy Scout pinewood derby race would allow the boys
to hone their skills further, without parental involvement. A merit
badge could be provided for the boy that builds and races a car
entirely on his own.

3. Revenue Generation - Certainly, extending the pinewood derby event
to Boy Scouts would increase sales of pinewood derby kits and
accessories, providing revenue for your organization.

Note that continuing the event beyond Cub Scouting age is not unusual.
For example, here are the age ranges for other organizations that hold
similar events.

- Awana: Aimed at grades 3 to 8, but can extend down to kindergarten.

- Royal Rangers: Kindergarten to 12th grade

- Royal Ambassadors: 1st to 6th grade

- Christian Service Brigade: Primarily grades 3 to 6, but is
optionally offered up to 12th grade

In summary, I ask that you consider this suggestion as it will be of
general benefit to your organization.

Yours in scouting,
Randy Davis

Read More at: Pinewood Derby Times Volume 7, Issue 8

A feature article is a regular part of the Pinewood Derby Times Newsletter. To subscribe to this free e-newsletter, please visit:

(C)2010, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.
35 36 37 38